tv [untitled] February 14, 2014 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
city government is aware of the fact that slowly but surely, we in san francisco are having our views obscured and this to me by granting this variance, it simply continuing that trend of slowly but surely taking away beautiful space from both us who live there and all the tourist who come there. i'm really hoping that the board will not permit this variance to go through. thanks for letting me event. >> hi there. i live on terrace. there are some separate issues we have.
there isn't a guardrail for instance and the zoning administrator pointed out some other issues. i'm going keep these as two separate things at the moment. i'm here mainly to speak in support of my neighbors because i share a bunch of concerns and especially with the privacy issue and secondly primarily with the safety issue just like others of our neighbors we talk to have had people into their back yards, uninviteded guest at the retaining wall and also issues with trash being thrown over the fence, over the wall on a fairly regular basis. it just think there is a legitimate security issue and legitimate reason to have a fence. i guess from the current granting of the variance, the view has substantially been
restored as the property owners have pointed out you can really now see all the way down to the roof tops of their home from the sidewalk. i think it really addresses that issue. so, i felt that the variance granted was quite reasonable. that's all i have to say. is there any additional public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed. >> mr. woois, we have rebuttal time. three minutes.3 minutes. >> things have changed. the first thing i would like to mention is i have been as everybody knows more or less the driving force. i'm not shamed of that. in fact it is
important to note that no place at any time have i made an issue of the view. my issue has entirely been from the very first both at the hearing on august 28th in my statement of opposition that i submitted to mr. sanchez before the hearing and in our brief if you read it you will see i make no reference to the view at all. my concern as you can tell from my initial presentation is about the place. the place you are while you are seeing the view. another claim you raised a very good question in asking the applicant what in fact this provides to you? as far as i can see it doesn't really provide very much. not to mention that it's totally unnecessary. the one thing that i wanted to wring up in my rebuttal which i had plans to make the focus of my rebuttal is that at the time that this fence was built, it
was built under a permit that was based on inaccuracies on the property line. that's why the permit was granted. after they discovered that it was inaccurate, the permit was suspended and after that the owner was directed to lower the fence, but he wasn't directed to lower it to code height. at the time i issued my objections at this process and presumption of eventual an allowance was being made. the burden of proof was being shifted from the applicant to the community instead of him requiring him to exceeding the height, he was required to lower the height of the existing construction. i was assured by mr. sanchez that it wouldn't be the case, but in fact that's exactly what's happened. the zoning administrator speaks to reducing the height of the fence as though that is some kind of a reconstruction. --
restriction. where it is an increased height above the code requirement. i think we should all keep in mind that this applicant has to right to the variance. we are not arguing to have the fence lowered. we are arguing for the requirements of a fence for a greater height have not been met. i just want to share something that appeared in the new yorker last week. president obama was quoted making an observation that i find particularly relevant here tonight. at the end of the day we are part of a long running story and we are just trying to get our paragraph right. that's really all we are asking for here. mount olympus monument park has a history that extends over 125 years and a part of the long running story of san francisco. i'm just asking, let's just try to get our paragraph right. thank you very much.
>> thank you. please come forward. >> thanks, everyone. the appellant and everyone else. my name is neal, i'm one of the property owners. the appellant has not demonstrated that the zoning administrator has errored or abused his judgment. if anything, the picture that i can show you here has maintained what everybody has called a sacred space. this view is still available. if anything, the view will be increased by removing the fence by another 6-8 inches. the view and the argument made for that with or without mr. woois has been granted. i'm sorry the facts were not known early on. but the fence was created with a valid permit. it was created as we were new home owners
not knowing the 15-day appeals process that could have gone through that we could have waited 16 days where it could have been failed. we followed the proper rules, proper procedures. even made a concession so the neighborhood could try it before they buy it from this lower fence height which we are seeing here. so that people could see what we are were trying to do was not breaking with what mount olympus actually has. we agree it's a special place, we agree that the view should be preserved. it's clearly what it is. when you look at properties on the surrounding area based on this map an this is also on the appeals brief that my wife and i provided, all of these locations with letters of fences are mainly over 6 feet tall. i don't know if my neighbors would like me to call for fences over six 6 feet tall and of the city do
a lot more work. what i'm talking about properties on the same district, we are talking about the same street shth they have the exact same thing and exact property. it's unfortunate, the prior owners, didn't in 1952 decide to build a fence, because if they did, we would not be here today. >> a quick question. >> can you stop our time? >> yeah. >> ed and c, where is your property? >> our property is this one here. >> ed and has fences. >> they have screening. i apologize by one. i need to find the picture. these are two. c and d. c has a fence and d has dense brush that you can't see through. i can dig through. >> did you consider vegetation? >> we are happy to if
vegetation is the issue, we are happy to continue to let ivy grow which is already started to grow on the fence which will shield the fence in due time. we are talking about 10 or 5 years from now as opposed to privacy in the next foreseeable future. this is the example. this is taken from our fence 3 days ago where there is already ivy growing through, ivy grows extremely fast. the idea that it will grow over the fence itself? >> yes. i'm happy to manipulate the ivy vines so they grow over the fence to see throughout the upper terrace neighborhood. >> okay. >> we'll finish now. >> just to the response to some of the public comment. first i wanted to clarify we did consult prior to building
the fence with neighbors on either side. they did agreed to the building. it makes sense when you have a property like ours as opposed to someone that just experienced our property from the sidewalk. the events and various tourist attractions that come through our neighborhood, that you might want a fence. we hear people say it's changing this wonderful historic site. i think what things come down to here is a change which makes people uncomfortable when they have been there for a long time. it's evident that many other places along the same stretch of sidewalk have done things which have obstructed views which ours does not and has provided similar security and privacy. >> were you ever going to paint the fence. too fence is
a redwood stained fence. it's just a fence. some people don't like the aesthetics of a fence. >> mr. sanchez? >> thank you. scott sanchez planning department. i want to address 3 points. first in regards to the building permit that was approved by our department and the fence constructed, maybe i wasn't clear but if there were inconsistencies in the plan, they were not out deception. i think the site plan was a little bit unclear in terms of where the rear property line was, the elevation appeared to have been more clear. the fence originally approved was 13 feet at all over all of it's already reduced to 11 -foot and reduced further. the
code would allow up to 10 feat -- foot. we are talking about the perspective of the street, we are talking about the code requirement of the rear yard would be one 1 foot taller than that. lastly, there were alternatives that were shown by the appellant and we did consider those. however, this lot itself is already shorter, substantially shorter than typical lots in the district. it's varying between 64-68 feet deep. one of the proposals, alternatives is to move the fence further into their rear yard reducing the amount of usable open space on the property. i did not feel it was reasonable in terms of the depth of the lot. i'm available for any questions. >> mr. sanchez, let's do a little bit of history.
>> okay. >> i can't recall under your tenure or any za tenure a fence variance? >> i have got one on the calendar for next month. >> previously? historic. >> i think it's true. >> i remember a number that were an appealed here, denials of variance where the primary issue was privacy between neighbors, slightly different situation, but still it's an issue of privacy primarily. is my history incorrect? >> i would hate to argue with your view of history. i would want to review the records to verify that. i came in 2010 and since that time i can't
recall any other fence variance certainly none that have been an appealed. fence permits are often an appealed. >> we had one in the haight that was an appealed. they wanted it higher, we made them cut it down based upon your denial of the variance. >> was that a fence? >> it was among 15 things they were arguing against each other. >> i would review the facts of this case and i felt this was an appropriate balance to effect of privacy. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> commissioners, the matter is submitted. >> i appreciate that perspective. i as someone who has bought homes. when i buy a house and i see that i don't have the privacy and i
currently have one of those homes where i can't build a 20-foot fence, i can't build a fence that would block my neighbors view into my backyard into my home without a variance, i don't consider a variance an entitlement and i don't think these home owners, the variance home owners bought a home that they didn't know how this existing walkway that looked into their backyard. and i have a house behind mine where we are looking into each other's homes. that's how it is. it's not the same public right-of-way, but that's what i bought. i didn't expect that i would have a variance. i didn't expect this variance hit all the five requirements. i think three and four. my inclination is not to uphold the variance. that's where
i'm going. >> well, commissioners, i can't fault anyone for wanting privacy. i'm fairly private myself. but the question here really is the precedence to a certain degree as far as i'm concerned, but also to what extent does this generates the level of reason in terms of that satisfy the variance. i in the past have indicated that i have never been established with the five criteria, understanding there is a process needed in order
to do something outside of a code that cannot be 100 percent perfect. i understand that process and, but it always gives me ammunition in if i look at these five items and the rational stated there, i'm not sure i'm in total agreement that it satisfies the 5. i would have rather that they, they have already built the structure up. i would have rather they have done a hedge and they wouldn't have had to wait 5 years for privacy rather than see that fence. >> okay. no pun intended but i'm on the other side of the fence on this. >> second time it bombed. >> yeah. the variance is for an additional foot. i do
believe the owner has some right to some privacy and the fence line has been reduced to the guardrail. if i don't have the vote, they can lower it a foot and put planters at that top which would exceed that, correct? >> i'm sorry, but they need four votes to over turn. and i should warn everybody if there is an -- indication that there may be three >> i'm not going to vote to over turn. >> okay. >> so i'm going to make a motion to grant the appeal. and over turn on basis that the zoning administrator was in error and abused this
discretion. >> we have a motion then from the president to grant this appeal and over rule the granting of a variance with the finding that the zoning administrator errored and abused his discretion. >> to be clear, if this motion passes, i think we would need written findings to be clear. >> i'm ready. >> with findings at a later time. on that motion to over rule, commissioner fung, aye, commissioner hurtado? no. the vice-president is absent. commissioner honda? no. >> thank you. the vote is 2-2. the city charter requires 4 out of 5 votes to over turn any departmental action. so